Statement of Support by the Right Livelihood Award Laureates for the nonviolent struggle against the construction of the Korean
- 2012.03.29 (01:28:59)
Statement of Support by the Right Livelihood Award Laureates for the nonviolent struggle against the construction of the Korean/USA Naval Base in Gangjeong, on the Peace Island of Jeju, Republic of Korea
We, Laureates of the Right Livelihood Award wish to express our deepest concern regarding the rapidly deteriorating situation surrounding the Republic of Korea Government’s forcible construction of a navy base at Gangjeong village on Jeju Island.
In the last few weeks on March 7th 2012, the explosive blasting of the unique Gureombi volcanic-rock formation has started. A very large number of riot police have been deployed from the mainland - something that has not been experienced on the island since the days of the massacre of April 3rd 1948, which was carried out with the help of Government forces including the police.
Over the past five year, the Gangjeong villagers and their supporters have nonviolently, consistently and bravely voiced their opposition to the base construction despite being repeatedly subject to arrest, imprisonment and heavy fines. Rather than using a legitimate process of democratic consultation with the affected villagers they have instead been subject to brute force, corrupt bribery which has divided their community, the contamination of their drinking water source, and illegal measures that have taken away their ancient rights to pray at their sacred rocks. Over 400 people have been arrested since January 2010. The number of arrests is now rising rapidly since the blasting has begun, including that of religious leaders and of minors.
The coast of Gangjeong village is classified as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Jeju island is surrounded by no less than three UNESCO World Natural Heritage sites and nine UNESCO Geo-Parks and was designated one of the “New Seven Wonders of Nature.” The proposed ROK navy base being constructed in this “New Wonder of Nature” will be available for unlimited use by the United States navy and military and would likely be used to host aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines and AEGIS warships that are part of the United States anti-ballistic missile defense system. It is also likely that the base will be used in the conflict with China that the USA is planning and openly preparing for.
Jeju Island was formally declared the “World Peace Island” and should indeed be an island for promoting the purposes of world peace with its strategic location at the heart of East Asia (between Japan, China and Korea, with Russia and USA also interested parties) and should only be used for peaceful purposes. Construction of the navy base on Jeju Island at Gangjeong Village only serves to further military tensions and obstacles to world peace in the East Asian region and between the countries involved.
March 27, 2012.
Signed by the following Right Livelihood Award Laureates:
Fernando Funes Aguilar for Grupo de Agricultura Orgánica (GAO), Cuba, RLA 1999.
Annelies Allain for IBFAN, Switzerland, RLA 1998.
Dr. Martin Almada, Paraguay, RLA 2002.
Maude Barlow, Canada, RLA 2005.
Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria, RLA 2010.
Rosalie Bertell, Canada, RLA 1986.
Andras Biro, Hungary, RLA 1995.
Carmel Budiardjo, UK, RLA 1995.
Tony Clarke, Canada, RLA 2005.
Anwar Fazal, Malaysia, RLA 1982.
Wes Jackson, USA, RLA 2000.
Erwin Kräutler, Brazil, RLA 2010.
Katarina Kruhonja, Croatia, RLA 1998.
Ida Kuklina, UCSMR, Russia, RLA 1996.
Professor Manfred Max-Neef, Chile, RLA 1983.
Prof. Dr. Raul Montenegro, Argentina, RLA 2004.
Suciwati Munir, for Munir, Indonesia, RLA 2000.
Juan Pablo Orrego, Chile, RLA 1998.
P. K. Ravindran, for Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, India, RLA 1996.
Fernando Rendon, for Festival Internacional de Poesía de Medellín, Colombia, RLA 2006.
Susil Sirivardana for PIDA, Sri Lanka, RLA 1982.
Michael Succow, Germany, RLA 1997.
Dr. H. Sudarshan, India, RLA 1994.
Chico Whitaker, Brazil, RLA 2006.
Alla Yaroshinskaya, Russia, RLA 1992.
Angie Zelter, for Trident Ploughshares, UK, RLA 2001.
Please visit the Right Livelihood Award website for more information!